Coming soon to a theater near you: Hedge funds—the movie
Blinking stock and commodity charts on glowing Bloomberg terminals. Traders talking about "alpha" wearing quarter-zip cashmere sweaters. Rows of sleek desks in midtown Manhattan offices. Welcome to hedge fund movie-making.
That video scene may not be as racy as Hollywood blockbuster "The Wolf of Wall Street," but it may very well be the future of hedge fund marketing. A small but growing group of alternative investment funds are now using video to sell themselves, a far cry from the stale and secretive PDF documents that have long dominated the fundraising process.
Some are emboldened by new JOBS Act rules that permit the marketing of private funds. Others are simply trying to harness the growing power of online video. While still a tiny minority of firms, a growing number of hedge fund managers are telling their story on film.
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The first mover appears to have been Topturn Capital, a small Monterey, Calif.-based hedge fund shop. The firm posted a surfing-themed trailer online in late 2013, essentially a movie-like trailer for Topturn and its investing approach.
Another recent video adopter is SilverPepper, an alternative mutual fund company launched November 1. The firm's first two offerings, the SilverPepper Commodity Strategies Global Macro Fund and SilverPepper Merger Arbitrage Fund, feature short films on the established hedge fund managers who run the strategies.
Galtere and Glenfinnen Capital are profiled using six and seven minute videos on the firm's public site along with separate shorts explaining the strategies used by the hedge funds.
"For so many years, the materials for reviewing funds have been relatively static and flat. It's a very impersonal experience," said Patrick Reinkemeyer, president of SilverPepper, which manages $7.5 million in its two funds but plans to grow substantially. "What we're trying to do is a smart and provocative way to shed insight into the investing process."
The latest mover is Accelerate Product Partners, run by hedge fund fundraisers Alexis Graham and Ian Tracy of Arcadia Securities.
The pair, according to people familiar with the situation, plan to launch a website in the next few weeks that profiles hedge funds using video as a tool for investors in them. Each hedge fund on the platform—initially including $300 million Kerrisdale Capital and two others—will be profiled in a trailer-like film and feature as many as 30 short video answers to standard hedge fund investor due diligence questions, such as investment strategy and risk management.
(Read more: What could save hedge funds? Marketing! (Maybe))
Graham and Tracy declined to comment. Their thinking, according to people familiar with the soon-to-launch site, is to eliminate the need for an introductory meeting between the hedge fund manager and investor.
The site will only be open to accredited investors. It will also curate a group of high quality managers to feature, usually hedge funds with at least $200 million in capital and multiple year, index-beating track records. Investors already signed up to use the hedge fund evaluation tool include Smith College's endowment, wealth advisor Gallatin Advisers and fund of hedge funds Landmark Value Advisors.
Others using some form of video include Kenai Capital Management on Ed Butowsky's 720investor.com and Acadian Asset Management, a Boston based hedge fund. Lisa Vioni's Hedge Connection, a investor-hedge fund match-making platform, also plans to add video in the near future.
—By CNBC's Lawrence Delevingne. Follow him on Twitter